Fourteen-year-old Lara Evans is walking tall – thanks to a simple piece of specialist equipment.
Lara, from Queensferry in Deeside, has Cerebral Palsy which affects her mobility. Although she uses a wheelchair, following extensive surgery last year it is important for her progress that she walks whenever possible. To do this, Lara needs the support of a walking frame but her old equipment had become worn out and dangerous.
With no money available from local statutory services for a replacement, Lara’s physiotherapist recommended the family contact Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has supported 57 children in Flintshire with equipment totalling £58,217.
Mum Jacqueline Evans said: “Lara got her new walking frame at the beginning of November – and she loves it. It has special chunky wheels so she can use it on grass; it also enables her to go faster than her old walker.”
She added: “Since Lara’s operation last year everything now is about helping her improve her posture and build up her stamina, to help minimise future problems.”
As well as using the new equipment around the house, Lara is able to walk the 200 yards to the bus stop to catch her school bus, and at the other end of her journey walk into school. She still needs to use her wheelchair during the school day, but combines this with walking from class to class.
Jacqueline said: “All her work with the walker will help improve her posture and help her stand straight – it’s crucial for her future health. Lara has worked really hard to get to this level of walking since her operation; if her walker hadn’t been funded by Newlife all this hard work would have been for nothing and her independence would have been taken away from her. And that’s upsetting to think about.”
Lara added: “I was so disappointed that the local authority wouldn’t give funding for me to have a new walking frame. I was worried it would make things so much harder for me, I know I can’t walk far so I would be just stuck in my wheelchair all day if I didn’t have my frame, and being sat in one position all day long is painful. My hips and knees hurt anyway, so it’s a relief to be able to get up and walk around. Also, I would end up back how I was before my operation, with very bent knees and hips, and I don’t want that operation again. So I was so pleased that I was able to get a new frame through Newlife Foundation.”
As statutory cuts continue, Newlife is seeing a surge in demand for its range of equipment provision services.
If you would like to help other disabled children in Flintshire like Lara, go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/flintshire and click on the Donate Now button. Alternatively, you could contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email firstname.lastname@example.org for fundraising information.
Newlife pledges that 100 per cent of all donations will be spent on equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness in your county area.
Pictured: Lara Evans